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How Savvy Malaysians Save on Travel

Here’s how they are saving on travel expenses to make the most of their holiday experiences despite the rising costs.

Bangkok. Source: Suzukii Xingfu

Here’s how they are saving on travel expenses to make the most of their holiday experiences despite the rising costs.

Now that Malaysians have rekindled their love for travel – they’re getting more resourceful at managing their holiday expenses. Here’s how they are saving on travel expenses to make the most of their holiday experiences despite the rising costs.

Choose a Budget Friendly Destination

Between May 26 and June 4 this year, many Malaysians have chosen destinations like Thailand and Indonesia due to favourable currency exchange rates. Accommodations in these places are significantly more pocket-friendly compared to countries like Singapore, Japan, and Australia. This leaves travellers with extra funds to indulge in immersive activities such as  theme parks and skill-building classes such as local cuisine cooking, batik making, and glass making.

Graph - Top Destinations for Malaysians
Graph – Top Destinations for Malaysians
Bali
Bali. Source: Oleksandr P

Travel Light

Soaring flight prices haven’t deterred travellers. Instead, those on short trips opt to travel light, making full use of their 7kg hand-carry luggage. This not only saves them money on extra baggage fees but also valuable time, as they no longer need to line up to check in their bags.

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Planning Ahead

For those eyeing long-haul flights to destinations like Australia and Japan this holiday season, planning ahead has become the key to savings. Many took advantage of ticket deals during events like the Matta Fair, securing steep discounts on flights and accommodations by booking months in advance.

Watch out for hidden fees

Don’t fall into the trap of hidden fees while abroad. Leave your bank card at home and instead, opt for a multi-currency card to spend overseas to avoid (hidden) transaction fees and fx fees. The Wise Debit card lets you hold over 40 currencies, and easily transact in the local currency wherever you are. Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate, the rate that you see on Google, so you never overpay. Malaysians can now add their Wise cards to Apple Pay and Google Pay for seamless local and international purchases.

Pay in local currency

When you’re travelling overseas, card machines may offer to let you pay in your home currency using Dynamic Currency Conversion. Although this appears convenient, it often comes with inflated exchange rates. Choosing to pay in the local currency and letting your card provider handle the conversion ensures a fairer exchange rate.

Do your research and know when to shop tax-free

While shopping among travellers has declined by 40% in favour of more experiential activities (up by 28.5%), those still keen on shopping should do their research online, especially for big-ticket or luxury items*. Comparing prices will help you determine if a purchase is worth it. Many countries allow tourists to apply for a VAT (value-added tax) refund, enabling tax-free shopping. This means you can receive a refund for your overseas purchases. When making expensive purchases, bring your passport and ask the retailer for a Tax Refund Application.

Travelling smart and maximising your budget is the key to unforgettable and cost-effective holidays! Safe travels!

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